The Hispanic Student Christian Association (HSCA) is making big strides towards ethnic diversity and culture identity here at Olivet Nazarene University. The new club hosted a ‘Salsa Night’, with chips and dancing. It was a vibrant opportunity for students and faculty who attended to enjoy some great food and company.
Not just for Hispanic students, the HSCA is for anyone who is looking for a fulfilling cultural experience. In the words of Multicultural Student Services Coordinator Dr. Cynthia Taylor, “it’s for all students, faculty and staff who desire to promote unity, increase retention and cultivate an environment of student success.” For those with Hispanic heritage, it is a time to feel at home and bask in familiarity. However, this club is a recent addition on campus.
When Junior Clarissa Cano found out that Olivet did not have a Hispanic club, she decided to create her own.
“I met with Dr. Taylor, and asked if Olivet had a Hispanic Student ‘club’ of any sort. ONU did not, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to start and share my Hispanic culture with students on campus. I initiated the club and brought Sarai Guerrero (Junior) and Maricruz Zepeda (Junior) on board with running the club and coming up with events,” Cano said.
That is exactly what she did, and after 3 events, HSCA is thriving. At Salsa Night, they had fresh, homemade salsa and chips and some salsa dancing.
Dr. Tayler, who attended the event and assisted in hosting it, had a fantastic time. “Being that this was our third event sponsored by the HSCA, it was very successful with almost 75 students and two staff persons in attendance. The feedback indicated that those who attended were engaged, learned something new and had fun! Special thanks to Clarissa who made authentic salsa. Everything was muy deliciouso!” Dr. Tayler said.
Clarissa Cano did indeed make the salsa, and viewed the night as a success.
“It was an amazing turn out that I’m grateful for. I could sense the amount the comfort and how much everybody enjoyed themselves during the Salsa dance lessons. Just looking at everyone laughing and smiling when dancing was the highlight of my night,” Cano said.
When the HSCA is not eating salsa and dancing, they are making an impact on the student population.
“HSCA is one way of affirming self-identity, creating a sense of appreciation and belonging while away from home. It is an association that welcomes other students, faculty, and staff who appreciate and want to learn about the Hispanic culture,” Dr. Taylor said.
The ability to gather together, to embrace each other’s cultures is what Sarah Guerrero loves about HSCA.
Guerrero wants the HSCA to help students feel comfortable, and make Olivet a home for everyone. Sharing the her culture is a way to add to the ONU community. In her perspective, Salsa Night did just that.
“My favorite part about the Salsa Night was how much everyone was enjoying learning the dances! Dancing is HUGE in Hispanic culture, and to share that with others was great!” Guerrero said.
In another perspective, Cano puts it as this, “Hispanic Student Christian Association (HSCA) has created a sense of ‘home’ here at ONU for Hispanic students where we can share and connect over music, Spanish worship, and events. It’s not only created a sense of belonging, but has also created a welcoming to those who appreciate the culture and wish to learn more about it. Like every club and group at ONU, we want to impact our ONU culture by bringing a sense of color, love, and ethnicity to it!”
With Clarissa Cano, Dr. Taylor, and Sarah Guerrero involved in HSCA, it will continue to make great strides towards ethnic diversity and cultural identity. This is a club that has the capability make a difference across campus, and it has already doing just that. These ladies are doing great things, and anyone can be a part of it. With such a big attendance at their last event, HSCA certainly has been making an impact.